KILLINGLY, Connecticut (WTNH) – A photography class at Killingly High School highlights the ‘Behind the Mask’ light during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
Danica Temple teaches photography at Killingly High School. Part of his lesson was teaching his students two popular artists, “There’s JR doing the Inside Out project that looks like these giant installations around the world, and then there’s Brandon Stanton who directs Humans of New York. . ”
The two artists inspired her to come up with a special project for her students. She tells News 8 that the inspiration associated with the hardships of the past year set the project up perfectly. “We got to a point where there was a lot of conversation in class about how they were feeling, which was really tough about that. ”
The students needed an outlet for the project to become one. After a year full of COVID-19 rules and regulations, mask-wearing and social distancing, they decided to showcase what was ‘behind the mask’
Justin Baker is a photography student and a junior at Killingly High School, “It was really tough.” He hadn’t realized how many students had struggled throughout the year until he started hearing from them for the project.
Each student was to take five to ten portraits and collect the stories of each participant.
Temple tells us, “Honestly, when we started, I was happy to be 50.”
They ended up involving 143 students and staff and sharing their quarantine stories.
Temple says, “It really brought everyone together.”
Stories and smiles fill the main hallway and serve as a daily reminder for the whole school, they are not alone.
“It was really cool to bring the whole school together and finally feel like a school again instead of being apart,” Baker told News 8.
This not only had a huge impact on the students, but also on the staff: “And having the ability to read anonymously like everyone else was doing and realize” okay, I’m not alone, everyone. world feels the same, everyone doing their best to move forward. It helped heal, you have that feeling of weight lifted as a community. ”
The project has since fallen as the school prepares for the end of the year. However, Temple put all of the stories and portraits in a book so that the school will remember the year and the messages behind it forever.